If I were in the OP's situation I would most definitely rent. Living on that low of an income does not afford you ANY kind of house repair at all. I would think owning a home, unless paid for, would be an emotional burden on top of the one that comes with raising four kids to adulthood. Take every blessed thing you can get from the government if you are entitled to it. You are just the type of person I don't mind footing the bill for.